Best kitchen tips ever
These quick and clever kitchen hacks will change how you cook for the better.
Keep cookies soft
To keep cookies and other baked goods soft after baking, add a slice of store-bought white bread to an airtight container. Your cakes, cookies, and muffins will keep their day-one softness. Friends and family will think they’re fresh!
Slice potato wedges
Craving those scratch-made potato wedges from your favorite restaurant? The answer is waiting in your kitchen drawer. Cut one end of the potato for stability then push an apple slicer through. Add your fave seasonings. Bonus: You can try it with sweet potatoes, too.
Freeze a soup starter
Want garden-fresh flavour year-round? Freeze farmers market vegetables in resealable bags during peak season. A classic soup starter called a mirepoix is made by combining 2/3 onion with 1/3 carrot and celery. This aromatic blend will give you a sweet, hearty flavour to kickstart soups and broths. Vegetables will last eight to 12 months so you can enjoy the tastes of summer when gloomy, cold weather hits.
Use sheet pans as trays
Sheet pans: They’re not just for dinner anymore! Use your trusty baking sheet to stay organised while you meal prep. Keeping ingredients in one place helps you stay efficient and expedites cleanup, too.
Freeze single-serving sauces
Become an upcycling master! Egg cartons are ideal for freezing small portions of homemade sauce. (Especially when you need to use your ice trays for, well, ice.) Cover and freeze leftover sauce and transfer cubes to a resealable freezer bag. To use, thaw cubes in your fridge for two hours.
Turn wine into an instant cocktail
Have a group coming over but only one bottle of rosé in the fridge? Offer up some variety by turning wine into a fun, fizzy spritzer cocktail. Simply pour wine over ice and top with sparkling water. Red and white wine work well. Add fresh fruit as a garnish if you’re feeling fancy.
Prevent bowls from slipping
Need an extra hand? Professional chefs will tell you that a damp dishtowel under your mixing bowl will keep it from slipping and sliding on your counter as you mix. This tip works well with a cutting board too.
Chill wine super fast
Fact: No one likes lukewarm bubbly. Find a tall pitcher about the height of your wine bottle and get cooling. Immerse the bottle in ice water with a small handful of salt and turn every few minutes or so. Your booze will chill in 20 minutes (or less!).
Keep ice cream cool
Bubble wrap is a powerful insulator. While on the road, keep your ice cream from melting by wrapping the pint in plastic bubble wrap. It’ll stay firm for hours.
Stop cheese from sticking
Grated cheese really makes a difference (here’s why!) but it can be a pain to prep. For easy cleanup, use a quick spritz of cooking spray on your cheese grater to keep the cheese from sticking.
Plate like a pro
Dip the blade of your sharp knife in hot water to heat it up. Then wipe with a dry towel and cut your cake or cheesecake into nice, tidy slices. Repeat each time for pretty slices with a clean edge.
Make extra storage space
A well-organised kitchen is a joy to use. Install inexpensive hooks on the inside of your kitchen cabinets to maximise your storage space. Soon potholders, measuring spoons and extra gadgets will find a home!
Get more juice
Next time you need fresh lemon juice, try this restaurant tip. Microwave a lemon for seven to ten seconds. Then, roll the lemon back and forth under your palm on the counter. When you squeeze, you’ll get more juice from the lemon with way less effort. Try it with limes, too!
Quickly hull a strawberry
Insert a drinking straw (or stainless steel reusable) into the tip of the berry and push it through to the other end to quickly remove the stem.
Add a carrot
Carrots take away the acidity in tomato sauce by adding a subtle sweetness. If you find your sauce has gotten too acidic, peel a whole carrot, simmer it with the sauce and remove before serving.
Shred chicken quick
Shredding chicken can be a fiddly task for even the most dexterous cooks. It might even deter you from cooking meals that require it. But did you know you can make fast work of shredding chicken with your stand mixer’s paddle attachment? Simply add your leftover chicken and give it a spin.
Wrap up no-fuss fish
Cooking fish in parchment is a healthy, mess-free technique that seals in flavour. As you bake the packet, the fish is delicately infused with whatever ingredients you add in.
Freeze your roots
When you are finished grating fresh ginger, freeze the leftover root in a plastic container or resealable bag. No more shrivelled ginger in the produce drawer!
Make herbs last longer
Nothing is worse than buying fresh herbs and seeing them wilt the next day. Keep herbs like parsley and coriander bright with this simple storage tip! Trim the stems and place them in a small glass of water. Then place a plastic bag (like the one you got at the grocer) over top and secure by tying the plastic in a knot or wrapping it with butcher’s string. Store in the fridge or on the counter for up to two weeks!
Repurpose your pizza cutter
The wheel of a pizza cutter is perfect for cutting herbs in all directions. Bunch them up and wheel back and forth until you’ve reached your desired consistency.
Skip the store-bought broth
Making vegetable broth is as easy as cook, strain and serve. Broth can be covered and refrigerated up to three days or frozen up to six months. Use it in soups or casseroles, rice dishes and other recipes that require broth.
Rescue a salty soup
Next time you oversalt a soup, toss in a few wedges of raw apple or potato. Simmer for ten minutes and discard the wedges to get the flavour back to normal.
Here are a few more tips for rescuing salty dishes and fixing other common cooking disasters.
Sign up here to have Reader’s Digest’s favourite stories delivered straight to your inbox.